The Arrangements In The Constitution Of The Mind, For A Future Judgment And Retribution -- By: George B. Cheever
BSac 8:31 (July 1851) p. 471
The Arrangements In The Constitution Of The Mind, For A
Future Judgment And Retribution
In tracing the materials and agencies in the human mind for a future judgment and retribution, we find, next after Remembrance, the article and operation of Remorse. We are first to find the law, under which this operation of a guilty nature acts. And this is one of the plainest, best developed, and most unquestionable of the facts and laws of our being. It is the faculty and law of Conscience.
There is within the soul a silent, invisible, but ever present witness of all thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. This witness is named in our language, Conscience. The first and literal meaning of the Greek word, συνειδήσις, is a knowing with one’s self, a consciousness. This is also the etymological, elemental meaning of our English word conscience, conscience, knowing with. Add to this the idea of the discernment and judging of right and wrong, with the approval or disapproval of the same, and we shall have the full definition of the faculty of Conscience. It is a word perhaps to be found in all languages, and it has the same meaning, all the world over.
The conscience is sometimes called our Moral Sense, that is, an inward sense of moral qualities and actions, a sense of right and wrong, answering to our outward senses; and as these distinguish the qualities of external objects, distinguishing in like manner the qualities of moral objects, or the difference between moral qualities. Conscience is the judgment of the mind in regard to all the acts and
BSac 8:31 (July 1851) p. 472
movements of our being. Sometimes it is so slight as not to be noticed, being merely a consciousness, general and indefinite, that does hot take shape in a particular judgment.
There are five grand points, in reference to which we shall consider this faculty: 1. As universal in its existence; 2. Unceasing in its action; 3. Retrospective in its operations; 4. As affected by habit, and susceptible of perversion; o. As eternal in its power.
First then, this faculty of conscience is a universal possession of mankind. It is doubtless a part of our essential being as made in the image of God. The sense of right and wrong in ourselves, and the judgment of right and wrong in others is an experience and a process familiar, in some degree, to every man. The development, education, and action of this faculty are determined very much by men’s circumstances; and it is a faculty which acts according to the degree of light that has been enjoyed in regard to duty. But in some degree the possession and action of conscience are to be distinguished everyw...
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